GRE Exam Syllabus – All that you need to Know

“What is the syllabus for GRE?”

This is one of the most common questions that most of you will have in your minds. If you are not aware of the syllabus, you tend to cram through all the topics possibly known to you.

But is there a way to know the complete GRE Syllabus? Can you get the comprehensive syllabus in one place ?

Yes, the comprehensive syllabus can be certainly obtained along with the sectional components. Now that you know this, gear up for the GRE with renewed enthusiasm. The best way to tackle the exam is by having clarity on:

(i)  The syllabus

(i)  The pattern of the exam

(iii) The specific skills needed for acing the exam

(iv) The best ways to acquire those skills

What are the components of the GRE?

Before we get to the syllabus, let’s take a look at the testing areas.The three broad areas of testing include:

(i) Quantitative Reasoning

(ii) Verbal Reasoning

(iii) Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA)

The three sections test your skills on specific areas. Verbal Reasoning assesses your ability to complete text based on the information provided, and to comprehend and passages and draw suitable conclusions from them.

So, plan meticulously and have a determination to excel in the exam. You will indeed come out with flying colors.

Quantitative Reasoning tests your high-school mathematical abilities.

The Analytical Writing Assessment section assesses your writing and argumentative skills.

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Individual components of each section

1. Verbal Reasoning

Verbal Reasoning consists of 20 questions to be completed within 30 minutes. The section extensively seeks to test your acumen for analyzing and interpreting text. The areas which are tested under Verbal Reasoning include:

  • Text completion: Text completion evaluates your analytical skills. Generally, a passage with missing information is given. You are required to fill up the blanks in the context of the information provided.
  • Reading Comprehension: As the name goes, you must read a passage and comprehend the essence of the same. And Reading Comprehension tests your ability to analyze information, find evidence, summarize information, understand the author’s perspective, and draw conclusions.
  • Sentence Equivalence: Sentence Equivalence too, like Text Completion, seeks to gauge your proficiency in fitting a passage with suitable words from partial information provided. You will have to select two words from six choices such that the text completed using both words convey the same overall information.

Verbal Reasoning Table

edge Pro Tips:

  1. Ensure that the answers chosen for TC/SE questions grammatically fit and maintain coherence with the question statement.
  1. Skim through the complete RC passage first and capture the essence of the passage. Then read the question. Revisit specific sections of the passage where the answer to the question lies and study that part carefully to gather precise information required to answer the question.  
  1. Learn to identify the thesis statement and the supporting texts in RC passages. Thesis statements are the lines that convey the author’s opinion, view, warning, hypothesis etc. The rest are usually supporting ideas used to justify the thesis statement. This will help you to answer questions accurately.
  1. Do not look for synonyms in identifying the correct answer pair in SE questions. Sometimes, incorrect answer choices can be provided in pairs as distractors. When the two words are plugged into the blank, the meanings of the two completed texts (with the two correct choices) should be similar.                                

                                             Can you try this?

GRE syllabus 2

2. Quantitative Reasoning :

Quantitative Reasoning aims to test your fundamental mathematical abilities. The sectional content consists of high-school mathematics and statistics, excluding trigonometry and calculus. The section consists of 20 questions to be answered in 35 minutes. The major components of Quantitative Reasoning section typically consist of 8 quantitative comparisons, 9 problem-solving questions, and 3 data interpretation questions.Quantitative Reasoning further has a number of pure mathematical problems along with a few word problems.

The major testing areas include:

Quantitative Reasoning syllabus- Table

GREedge Pro Tips: 

  1. Read through the details of the questions with caution. It is highly possible for you to misinterpret the word problems. Hence, read the details of the questions to avoid “silly” mistakes.
  2. Ensure that the reasoning is correct by re-evaluating the answer choice. You must ensure that the answer chosen has relevance to the question asked.
  3. Try to avoid lengthy calculations. Check if the calculations follow a numerical pattern and zero in on a choice if any such striking pattern is found. Also, choose the answer that has the most approximate value.

What Types of Quant Questions are there in GRE General test?               Download the eBook NOW!

                                             Can you try this? 

GRE syllabus- collterals

3. Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA):

This section evaluates your analytical writing abilities. Though the section does not test subject-specific skills, your general skills in writing a cohesive essay with sound reasoning are tested. Your are required to write essays which either support an idea or weave a logical argument against one. The broad divisions of the Analytical Writing sections include:

  • Issue Task Essay:You are given an issue and you are required to take a stand and present your views on the given issue. Further, you must quote valid examples to support your views and validate your points.
  • Argument Task Essay:You must take a critical stand on the given topic and have logical statements to support the same. Further, a keen sense of rationality must be exhibited while constructing the arguments.

Both essays are independently timed for 30 minutes. Further, the evaluation is done on a scale of 0 to 6 with a half point increment.


Issue Task- table                                                                                             Source: ETS

Argument Task- Table                                                                                              Source: ETS

Striking the right balance:

Now that you have the comprehensive syllabus, learn to strike the right balance. Your test will have the right balance of Quantitative Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning. So prepare for both the sections. Ensure that you don’t miss out on either of the two.  

While most of you will have an edge in Quantitative Reasoning, Verbal Reasoning might be your Achilles’ heels. So, you need to pay adequate attention to this section during your preparation. A balanced preparation will indeed lead to a good composite score.

Putting the plans to action

Now that you are aware of what’s in store for you, you must start your plan to complete the syllabus.

(i) First of all, know the syllabus by the flip of your palm. Knowing the syllabus will indeed boost your confidence levels and will pump in a sense of enthusiasm.

(ii) Further, GRE is one such exam which can be aced through meticulous planning and regular practice. So, roll up your sleeves and chart out a realistic plan.

(iii) Work towards achieving your targets each day by constantly monitoring your progress.

(iii) Ensure that your are on the right track by honing both your Quantitative Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning skills.

(iv) Try to develop your section-specific skills too. Have an eye for details while evaluating the answer choices.

(v)Finally, try to embrace learning with continuous enthusiasm and it would definitely propel you into a glorious path and help you achieve a remarkable score.

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Do you have any queries regarding the syllabus or preparations? Shoot your questions and our experts will revert back with the answers.


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11 Responses

  1. Prashant says:

    Is GRE section wise adaptive or question wise adaptive like GMAT?

    • Samyuktha Raghuraman says:

      Hi Prashant,

      Good that you noticed this!.

      GRE is section wise adaptive, unlike GMAT which is question wise adaptive.
      So, you can expect questions from the same section to have a similar difficulty level in GRE. However, the level of difficulty of the second section would depend on the performance of your first section.

      Hope your query is resolved. If you still need any other clarification shoot them here and we will resolve the same.

  2. Shantini says:

    Can someone provide me the solution to the issue task question mentioned?

    • Samyuktha Raghuraman says:

      Hi Shantini,

      Hope you have tried to answer the issue task question!

      We can certainly help you with the essay.

      Just comment back with your answer and we will evaluate the same and mail you the personal feedback.

    • Samyuktha Raghuraman says:

      Hi Shantini,

      You can also attend the webinar on ‘How to write an Issue and Argument Essay?’ to know how to effectively write your essay. You can register for the same by clicking on this link-

  3. Alok Rakan says:

    Hey Thanks for the great tips! Are there any classes you offer for GRE/GMAT preparations?

    • Samyuktha Raghuraman says:

      Hi Alok,

      Glad to hear that you liked the tips.

      Yes, GREedge offers personalized online training programs for GRE & Admissions.
      Before I suggest the best program, please help me understand your profile better.

      1) When are you planning to take up your GRE?
      2) Would you require help for both Verbal Reasoning and Quantitative Reasoning?
      3) What type of training do you think would boost your scores?
      a) Teaching Based Training : Do you want an expert to teach you all the concepts from the basics?
      b) Guidance Based Training : Or do you want an expert to guide you and be available for guidance whenever you need?

      After you answer these questions, I will help you choose the right program to maximize your scores.

      You can also have a look at all the programs that GREedge offers at

      All the best!

  4. Anubhav says:

    Is the answer Questionable for the Romans question?

    • Samyuktha Raghuraman says:

      Hi Anubhav,

      Thanks for trying out the question. You are so close to the answer!
      Since this is a Sentence Equivalence question, two options are to be selected from the given six choices.
      Now that you know this, can you try answering the question once again?
      I’m sure that you will get both the choices right this time.

      Also, you can attend the ‘GRE Masterclass for Vocab Building’ to help you hone your vocabulary effortlessly. You can register for the same through this link –

  5. Sneha says:

    Issue task answer

    If the Mason city government devoted more money of the annual budget to the riverside recreational facilities, they would be killing two words with one stone. The locals of the Mason city could use the Mason river for water sports such as swimming, boating and fishing, if the river was cleaner. At the same time, the government would be able to provide the needed attention to the complaints by the residents.

    A cleaner river could lead to more fishes thriving. Fishing would be reincarnated along the riverside. People would also be less skeptical of the skin related issues they could be affected by swimming if the river is cleaner.

    Beyond being a recreational activity, fishing could also be a source of livelihood for people. Cleaner water would mean healthy and edible fishes. It could possibly give jobs to people as life-guards and boat vendors. The water sports would also attract tourists and the obvious economic benefits.

    Taxes paid by the locals gives them the right to healthy surroundings. Over the years, since the government had not shelled out enough money to keep the riverside clean. It grew bad causing complaints from the residents. If left further unchecked, the condition might become worse ending up in health issues for the residents living nearby. The deteriorating water quality can also become the breeding ground for insects that can spread diseases like malaria.

    The money spent on river-cleaning would surely reap its benefits which may not be immediate but eventually for sure.

    • Samyuktha Raghuraman says:

      Hi Sneha,

      Well done!

      You seem to have a flair for writing issue essays. I am sure that a well-articulated essay, like yours, can definitely get the maximum score of 6.

      I have a few pointers that you can keep in mind while writing issue task and argument task. Also, I can give you personal inputs on how to refine your essays.

      Just drop me a mail at and I will reply to the same with the feedback.

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